Art in Motion: The Outlet Dance Project’s Dance on Film Festival at Grounds for Sculpture

Art in Motion: The Outlet Dance Project’s Dance on Film Festival at Grounds for Sculpture

By now, my loyal readers will know that I love a good arts partnership – when two arts organizations, especially those in different genres, collaborate on an artistic venture. So get ready: I have another great one for you, involving some of my favorite genres: dance, visual arts and film. The Outlet Dance Project is about to present its two-day festival at Grounds For Sculpture (located in Hamilton) this weekend. On Friday, October 28 at 7:00 p.m. is the Dance on Film Festival, which will be an evening of stunning dance films from around the globe produced and created by women filmmakers and choreographers. On Sunday, October 30 at 2:00 p.m. is the Day of Dance, which has taken place annual at Grounds For Sculpture each year of the Outlet Dance Project’s 12-year history. The Day of Dance is an afternoon of gorgeous live performance, a dynamic, family-friendly journey through the Grounds For Sculpture, enabling visitors to see both dance and sculpture in a whole new way.

The Outlet Dance Project is an annual festival that focuses on the work of women, as choreographers and/or as filmmakers. Weaving together memory, place, history and movement, these site-specific works offer a unique and memorable viewing experience. You’ve got questions? Well, they’ll have answers! Following the screening, there is a brief Q&A with the artists, giving you a chance to learn even more about the work, and the process of creating dance for film.

Although the Outlet Dance Project itself is in its 12th year, the film festival portion was added only five years ago, I’m told by Project co-director Donia Salem. Salem told me that they wanted to add another dimension to the Outlet Dance Project, add more and different art forms and increase the diversity of presentations and collaborators, which led to the addition of the Film Festival portion. Filmmakers submit their finished films to the Festival for possible sections – a process that Salem says is getting more and more excruciating each year because the number and quality of works is dramatically increasing each year.

And I find this all rather fascinating. I mean, I knew that filmmaking is getting more prolific, as good equipment and editing tools become more affordable and prolific, and as more and more (ahem) outlets exist online for people to see this kind of work. But who knew that so many high-quality filmmakers are collaborating with choreographers and dancers to make site-specific work? And by site-specific, I mean that the choreography doesn’t just take place on a stage, but that the piece takes place in a specific location (often outdoors) and that the movement and the location depend on each other for meaning – that the dance interacts with the location in a way that contributes to the meaning of the work and the audience’s understanding of it.

For those of you who follow the arts closely, you may know that some arts leaders are a bit ambivalent towards the increase of work on video, especially those that are staged works that are now being seen on computers or at home or something. The big concern is that people are seeing these works in isolation, that there’s no magic to the evening.


But the really great thing about The Dance Project’s Film Festival, is that it combines the best of all worlds: you will still feel some of that magical camaraderie that comes from experiencing these works with fellow audience members in a public space. Not only that, but you’ll get a chance to converse with some of the creators during the Q&A at the Film Festival’s conclusion. And the works being presented are created for film, meaning that you aren’t seeing a watered-down version of a work intended for a different setting – no, you are seeing it exactly as the creators intended, which is really exciting.

Salem tells me that dance films are a really growing genre and more festivals are popping up each year, thanks especially to the internet which allows more filmmakers to distribute their works and more dance lovers to experience the genre.

And there are a LOT of works to get excited about: you’ll see about 13 films as part of the Festival – most ranging between two and 15 minutes (though one is only one minute long). All of the films are site-specific, tying in quite nicely to the Day of Dance performances on Sunday, which also interacts with the indoor and outdoor exhibits at Grounds For Sculpture. In fact, it would be really cool to see both days’ works to experience site-specific work on film as well as in person.

Visit to learn more about these films that you’ll see at the Festival:

  • SHINRIN-YOKU: a film by Mayumu Minakawa & Tom Weksler

  • LINES: a film by Nikita Maheshwary

  • LONE SIGNAL: a film by Jessi Jamz Colon & Bat-Sheva Guez

  • TRUSSED An Excerpt of Living The Room: a film by Kailee McMurran & Dylan Wilber

  • THROUGH THE EYES OF MY MEAL: a film by Katherine Maxwell & Jordan Taylor Fuller

  • GLOBE TROT: a film by Mitchell Rose & Bebe Miller

  • PICNIC: a film by Cara Hagan

  • VIRGA: Study for Dancing Clouds: a film by Alissa & Joshua Baird

  • (SWIRLING) PAST: a film by Duston Spear

  • AND SO DO I: a film by Jana G. Younes

  • TRIUMVIRATE: a film by Monica Campbell

  • INVISIBLE POINT: a film by Tanin Torabi

  • WOMAN VERSUS: a film by Justina Grayman

The Details

The Outlet Dance Project will hold its two-day festival at Grounds For Sculpture, located at 18 Fairgrounds Road in Hamilton, NJ. The Dance on Film Festival takes place on Friday, October 28 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 and include park admission on that day. And, if you purchase those film tickets in advance, you also get admission to the Day of Dance, taking place on Sunday, October 30 a 2:00 p.m. But if you don’t purchase the Film Festival tickets in advance, you can also see the Day of Dance Festival by purchasing park tickets for that Sunday.  Both the Dance on Film Festival and Day of Dance take place rain or shine. For more information, visit or

Please note:  some of the films may contain mature content and/or brief nudity.

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